Reflections on the 2021 Impact Assessment Committee

As our IAC team of almost 50 participants assembled last October, we were aware that it would not be business as usual. We faced the challenges of operating in a totally virtual world, the stresses and strains the Pandemic was imposing on our grantees, the uncertainty of when and how Covid-19 would be contained, and the need to lessen the pressures our processes impose on grantees.

Site visit teams were formed, processes and questions were streamlined, and we launched into 2021. By February, we were learning just how challenging it was for organizations to deliver services, keep the lights on, attract financial support and stay healthy. We continued to learn just how resilient, adaptable and innovative our grantees have been in meeting the needs of their communities and finding emergency relief and support.

During our monthly IAC meetings, we began to realize that the Foundation was also changing. We had thoughtful discussions about the grant criteria, the meaning of assessment, the differences between trust and accountability, and the need for clarity and communication to Foundation membership. We came to understand that these questions were not unique to IAC, as PFG and Cabinet aired similar confusion and concerns. We were looking for greater clarity on our philosophy of grantmaking, and seeking guidance from the Board and CEO.

During May and June, we had regular contacts and conversations with Maria, Ann Kumasaka and other Board members. We learned we were not alone in raising both practical and existential questions, and that we are all hungry for clarity and a renewed sense of commitment to working together in community for the benefit of many communities. Reinvention may well lie ahead for IAC, and there is an appetite for being part of that change process.

Gratitude and congratulations to the Foundation members and ED’s who make up the IAC and persevered with curiosity, kindness and good humor as we faced this changing world together.  And thanks also to Aviva Stampfer and Isabelle Shively for keeping us informed, on track and unmuted!

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